Saturday 19 August 2017

Branson calls for second EU referendum 'based on fact'

Virgin founder Richard Branson is calling for a second EU referendum. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Virgin founder Richard Branson is calling for a second EU referendum. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Virgin founder Richard Branson is calling for a second EU referendum, warning a hard Brexit will be a "shot in the foot" for Britain.

The billionaire, who campaigned to remain in the EU, said Brexit was "one of the saddest things that has happened" to both the UK and Europe.

"If a hard Brexit happens it would be pretty devastating and it would be the biggest sort of shot in the foot the British people have ever done to themselves, so (I) hope that sense will prevail," he told CNBC.

"When all the facts are known and are on the table, I would hope that a second referendum can take place based on real facts and not on the facts that people were given."

Mr Branson criticised campaign tactics used in the lead-up to the vote, including claims by pro-Brexit organisers that an extra £350m (€406m) a week would be funnelled to the NHS.

Following the vote, he urged Parliament to take a second look at the result, after saying he was deeply concerned about the impact of leaving the bloc.

Virgin Group ended up pulling the plug on the acquisition of a UK firm employing 3,000 staff after the referendum result was announced.

"I just pray and hope that when all the facts are there, or everything has been negotiated, the British people can have the decision to decide because it was a complete false premise that the referendum was brought on in the first place," he said.

Irish Independent

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